The April 17, 2021 deadline to upgrade your gas pumps and in-store POS systems with EMV technology is right around the corner. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, some 800,000 pumps needed to be upgraded by the original Oct. 1 deadline. That number has certainly dropped, but many stores have yet to take this necessary step. Is yours one of them?
A bit of backstory on the off-chance you haven't heard of this (or for a refresher even if you have). EMV is the Europay, MasterCard, Visa protocol that introduced chip technology to credit and debit cards. It is seen as the gold standard for credit and debit card transactions, and like other retailers, more and more C-stores and gas stations are converting their pay-at-the-pump technology and in-store POS systems to EMV.
Here are just a few reasons you should upgrade to EMV:
- Non-compliant locations could be charged up to $600/month by major oil companies.
- EMV reduces fraud.
- It protects your business from liability in the unlikely event there is fraud.
- The tech upgrade will make it easier for you to accept other types of payments in the future.
- Most of your customers have chipped credit or debit cards.
- You can find ways to offset the costs, like instituting a loyalty program.
Is a Managed Network Service Provider solution required in your EMV upgrade?
In a word, yes. An essential component in upgrading to EMV is to also upgrading your network infrastructure. Both Gilbarco and Verifone have guidelines and requirements for their EMV solutions, and in order to meet them, you'll need to use a Managed Network Service Provider (MNSP).
Managed network services maintain pay-at-the-pump solutions for operators without in-house IT expertise (most C-store businesses, in other words). They improve operations and help cut down on maintenance problems that can arise. Providers can be smaller, local vendors or much larger, global operations. The vendor you choose is up to you (unless you operate under a fuel brand or with a jobber who's already decided their preference.) What's not up to you is the necessity of implementing a MNSP solution.
Have you looked into this vital part of your entire EMV solution yet? If not, the clock is ticking. Some issues to consider:
- Without an MNSP, you will not have a complete at-the-pump EMV solution.
- You may experience service disruption if you wait to implement it.
- An MNSP supports your EMV's functions and is critical.
Beyond the critical function MNSPs play in supporting EMV, there are additional benefits you’ll realize as a “bonus” to your store operations:
- MNSP reduces the number of devices you’ll need onsite and therefore the complexity of your networking infrastructure
- MNSP requires fewer vendors to deal with for onsite networking support
- MNSP offers ease of adding new transaction routes to and from the POS including Loyalty, Gift Card, Back Office and others, as required
- MNSP will increase store data security, while meeting mandated PCI requirements
- MNSP streamlines your efforts by knowing exactly who to call with connectivity issues and allows for secure, remote troubleshooting support for in-store systems
- MNSP allows control over the network and visibility into each device operating within a merchant location
The longer you wait, the more problems you may experience. And the COVID-19 pandemic isn't helping the situation. You may have already experienced longer-than-usual delivery times and other service disruptions because of COVID, and your customers are likely choosing pay-at-the-pump options, which may be impacting your in-store sales. All of it adds up to a costly headache.
One worry off your mind is getting your MNSP installed along with your upgrade. Ideally, you will have done it in tandem. If not, it's not too late. Contact your vendor of choice and get in line. The sooner you do it, the sooner you'll be in compliance and have that worry and headache off your shoulders.
At Tecmark, we are passionate about helping C-store owners boost their bottom lines through robust loyalty programs that engage their customers and employees. Contact us today to learn more.